Of the 199,950kms of Highway roads in the Philippines, only 39,590kms are paved (1998 est.). The remaining 80% of which are UNPAVED. This probably makes 4×4 vehicles the most suitable form of transportation in the country. And with the recent calamities brought about by the succession of typhoons mercilessly drowning the Philippines in flood water, we’d need to further modifiy our rides to adapt to these conditions.
The best customization we can do to our 4×4 vehicles for these types of conditions is the 4×4 Snorkel.
The purpose of a Snorkel is to relocate the air entry point of your engine’s air intake from its stock location which is low and under the hood, to a higher and safer position, usually near the roof line of the vehicle. This ensures the best engine protection possible in situations where deep water wading becomes necessary.
Fitting a Snorkel will allow you to wade through deep water like this:
This type of modification can make one feel quite “godly”. So you must be warned that just because the air intake is situated high up, you might think that the only thing limiting you from going through deeper water is your ability to keep your head above the water while driving. There are other things to take into consideration. To keep the engine running, there are 3 things required: (1) Air, (2) Fuel, and (3) Spark. The snorkel only has the first part covered. The fuel isn’t really much of a problem as most vehicles’ fuel systems are sealed. Spark, on the other hand, is an issue if you have a gasoline-powered vehicle.
Water can still seep through the spark plug threads and end up inside the combustion chamber. It can also seep through the distributor cap and coil. And another thing to take into consideration is the electrics, which when submerged, can lead to irrepairable damage.
The only vehicles almost immune and waterproofed for wading are military-spec gasoline engines which have the entire ignition system completely sealed, and diesel engines since these do not require spark plugs.
You should take the radiator and auxilliary fans into consideration. These plastic fans have a tendency of breaking or exploding when submerged underwater while spinning. Plastic shrapnel can puncture vital organs such as the radiator. Some experienced offroaders install electric fan kill switches to manually turn off the fans during deep water wading. It is also a good idea to maintain a steady bow wave in front of you while going through deep water by and keeping a steady pace to prevent damage.
And contrary to popular belief, the exhaust doesn’t need to be rerouted to go above the water. Exhaust pressure from the running engine will always be stronger than the pressure of water trying to enter through the exhaust. Though the exhaust blockage can lower the engine RPM, it may be a good idea to gun the throttle a bit to keep from bogging down under load.